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NR Healthy Eating Challenge~Week 1 Update

7 Mar

Recipe: Morningstar Chick’n Strips Salad

It’s the end of the first week of the NR Healthy Eating Challenge.  It went smoother than I expected. I think a few key things that helped me to do better this time around:

  • I cut back before I started the challenge. (Example: Since I knew I wanted to do vegetarian for the first phase, I added more vegetarian meals and cut back on meat before I started. I also cut back on unhealthy snacks. )
  • I planned ahead and filled my fridge and cabinets with healthy food
  • I kept some quick options in the house for when I didn’t feel like cooking
  • I did my best to avoid temptation as much as possible. I felt some temptation when I went to the grocery store, but that’s mostly because I made the mistake of going when I was hungry. I will avoid that on my next trip.

I’m looking forward to next week and pushing myself even more. I hope everyone else is off to a good start too.

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Guest Blogger: Healthy Eating from Head to Toe

10 Feb

Healthy Eating from Head to Toe

Edward Stern is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and writes for

Edward writes:

You are what you eat, and you are what you don’t eat as well. One of the best indicators a healthy diet is through natural hair and nail strength, and their general appearances. Hair and nails, along with skin, can be the first physical indicators of well-balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins, in  minerals, or one lacking in one or more of the aforementioned areas.

Hair and nails are made of proteins, specifically keratin, collagen, and elastin. Proteins provide the foundations for cells, and so having a protein-rich diet is important in general, but especially so to promote healthy hair and nail growth and appearance. Hair that is shiny and strong along with nails that are glossy and smooth can best be achieved by eating a protein-rich diet. Great sources of protein that are also relatively low in calories, fat, and cholesterol include fish (especially salmon), chicken, eggs, beans, and legumes.

Of equal importance is eating a nutrient-rich diet that covers several important vitamins and minerals. These nutrients help rebuild and repair tissues, helping strengthen hair and nails and helping them recover from any damage quickly and coming back stronger than ever.

Vitamins A and B both help maintain and repair cells, and can be found in protein-rich foods such as tuna, salmon, and other fish, as well as potatoes, turkey, and eggs. Fish oils, either ingested as part of a fishy feast or a supplements, are truly outstanding for growing (and keeping) healthy hair and help nails too, and should be a staple of any diet additionally for their omega-3 properties which help with mental sharpness and improving memory. Kill two birds with one stone by eating protein-rich dishes that also are plentiful in nutrients such as vitamins A and B.

Vitamin C, found in many fruits and juices, is great for building collagen, which is one of the foundational proteins of hair and nails. Vitamin E is found in many vegetables and is great for growing beautiful, healthy-looking hair.

Minerals are important as well, particularly iron and zinc. A lack of iron makes hair brittle and can cause it to fall out, while a lack of zinc causes hair loss and brittle nails. Thankfully, both can be found in protein-rich dishes. Eat fish and legumes for iron and a good helping of protein, and consume dairy products for zinc and some more healthy proteins.

By eating a diet high in healthy proteins and covering important vitamins and minerals, it is not difficult to promote healthy and strong hair and nail growth. Eggs and a glass of milk at breakfast, a bean soup for lunch with a juice smoothie on the side, and a salmon fillet for dinner will have you feeling great, eating plenty of protein, and cover your bases for vitamins and minerals that build the nails and hair you’ve always wanted.

What Positive Changes Will You Make in the New Year?

27 Dec

Each year is a chance for a new beginning. Last year may not have been what you wanted, but this new year can exceed your expectations. I want 2011 to be a year where I continue to develop my skills and talents. I will also take better care of my health because I realize how precious it it. Each year I try to challenge myself more than I did in the last. I try to experience more than I did in the last. What positive changes will you make in 2011?

Guest Blogger: How to be Eco-Friendly on a Limited Budget

26 Dec
Neems of Neems-n-Things writes:
While walking the aisles of the supermarket last week, I felt overwhelmed by all the eco-friendly products, gizmos and gadgets on display for the holiday season. Some seemed useful, while are others were just another marketing ploy to get me to part with my money. Honestly, do I need an eco-friendly ice cream scoop when a regular spoon works just fine?
Most of the time, I really do want to reduce my contributions to green house gas emissions and get those around me to do the same. But, it has become very easy to get lost in the hype and feel like your contributions are futile.
So, here are a seven simple tips that can help you get started.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The 3 Rs seem like common sense, but I was surprised to find out that I was not recycling properly. Planet Green gives a great explanation on how to do it.

2. BYOL – Bring your own lunch
Sometimes it’s great to go a new restuarnt for lunch and other times, it’s just a another hassle. Try bringing your own lunch to work or school. It gives you the option of getting whatever you want and made just the way you like it. You could take dinner leftovers to avoid them going to waste. But, don’t forget to pack it in a  reusable bag, with a resusable water bottle and container. And if you’re feeling extra eco-friendly, use a cloth napkin.

3. Don’t buy an item just because it has the words green, eco-friendly, or recycled on it.
Purchasing some of these items might make you feel good for a moment, but think about the benefit of purchasing them? What good is a reusable bag if you are going to fill it with disposable paper plates, disposable water bottles, and processed junk food? Instead buy products because you need and plan on using.

4. Make a list before you go shopping
I know how difficult it can be to go into a store and only buy what you need, but doing so will save you time and money. Take a look in the fridge and the cupboards before you go shopping to avoid wasting food. Also, if you use a list, it’s easier to stick to a budget and avoid spending extra money.

5. No Impulse Buying
One thing I have learned in trying to reduce my contribution to landfills is not to buy on impulse. Seriously, how many times have you bought that extra item that was on sale only to stash it away in the closet for the next six months? It is a waste of money and a major culprit of waste production.  That includes groceries, hair products (product junkism is real), shoes and clothes. It takes some practice but the extra savings are worth it.

6. If you don’t use it, let it go
As you take inventory of the things that you have, you are bound to notice you have unused appliances, shoes and clothes. Sometimes it’s hard to admit you have too much stuff. But there is no sense in holding onto to it. Why not donate those items to a local homeless shelter, Salvation Army or Goodwill? Or you can try craigslist, Freecycle and consignment shops.

7. Throw a Swap & Shop party
If you have too much stuff, more than likely your friends do, too? So organize a weekend when you all bring your gently used items together and exchange. Make it a potluck and have each person also bring a dish or drink. And at the end, you and your friends can opt to donate or sell the leftovers.